National Centre for Livestock and the Environment to Host Feed Processing Workshop

CANADA - Officially opened last summer, the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment’s (NCLE) new state of the art feed processing facility is allowing scientists to gain a greater understanding of the impact of feed processing on animal nutrition and performance.
calendar icon 24 February 2007
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Next month (March 16), as part of a one day workshop, pork producers will have an opportunity to tour the facility and learn more about feed processing techniques and technologies and how feed processing can affect their profitability.

The $1.5 million feed mill, located at the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station, features an automated feed processing line complete with both hammer mill and roller mill capacity, micro-bins and vertical mixer along with pelleting and crumbling capabilities. It also features a micro-mix preparation area and a flexible ingredient processing area complete with grain pearling and particle size reduction equipment.

Feed Mill Equipped for Multi-Species Feed Processing

“The facility is designed so that it can process feeds for cattle, dairy and beef, swine and poultry and it is being used for all of those purposes,“ states Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences associate dean of research Dr. Karin Wittenberg.

“The mill is designed to meet the requirements of the research herds and flocks associated with the University of Manitoba. What we have tried to do is have our runs large enough that we can feed the herds and flocks but also to do smaller batches. If we need a batch, for example, where we have very expensive equipment we may only want to make a batch size of 100 to 150 kilograms. We have the ability to go to those smaller levels for experimental diets,“ Dr. Wittenberg explains.

The workshop, “Feeding the Manitoba Pork Industry,“ is slated for March 16 and will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. It is being hosted by the Canadian International Grains Institute and the University of Manitoba in conjunction with Manitoba Pork Council.

Workshop to Target those Involved in Feed Manufacturing for Swine

“What this workshop will do is bring people who are engaged in manufacturing feed for swine recent information on some of the processes involved in making feed, giving an overview of the operation of a feed mill, some of the dos and don'ts and some of the new things to be looking out for,“ explains Dr. Jim House an associate professor with the University’s Department of Animal Science.

“If you look at the cost of raising a pig to market weight, feed can represent 60 percent of the production cost if not higher,“ he says. “You need to identify where within the system you can realize some efficiencies with respect to saving a dollar here or saving a dollar there because those savings add up and can provide a substantial net return to the producer.“

He notes the session will go through a nutrition program, including the concepts behind feed formulation and looking at, in particular, some of the issues around least cost formulations because of the impact that is having on producers today.

Dr. Rex Newkirk, the Canadian International Grains Institute’s (CIGI) director of feed notes, “Our job at CIGI is to help people understand how to use Canadian products to their fullest extent. My area is feedgrains so I work to make sure people understand how to use feedgrains as efficiently as possible.“

Feed Formulation Key to Optimum Nutrition

Dr. Newkirk suggests, “The biggest thing to consider is formulation. By understanding what the ingredients contain and formulating based on the nutrient profile of those ingredients, you can use those ingredients to their fullest extent.“

He points out, “We’re fortunate in Canada to have a number of ingredients to work with for swine production. We have feed peas. We have canola. We have wheat, barley and corn. We have distiller’s grains. So having an understanding of those ingredients, how they fit into the ration and how you might use them can open up some options.“

He observes, “Sometimes people get tempted to only use what they can find on their farm and miss some other opportunities to reduce their costs by bringing in some other ingredients.“

Proper Processing and Formulation Cut Production Costs

Dr. Newkirk stresses that it is important for on farm feed manufacturers to ensure that they process the grains properly, and that that have formulated the diets, or had somebody formulate the diets for them, so that they can maximize production, maximize the quality of the product and also reduce the cost of production as much as possible.

He says, “You can hire nutritionists to do that and that’s probably wise, but having an understanding of that process will help you work with that nutritionist to formulate diets so that you get the lowest cost diet with the greatest production capacity.“

Dr. Newkirk notes, “You need to consider the variability of the product you’re using. So rather than just using a book value for your materials you should understand where the product comes from and have a better sense, for example, of protein content. The values that you might find for say some U.S. products may not be suitable for Canada.“

Workshop to Cover Multiple Aspects of On-Farm Feed Manufacturing

In addition to covering swine nutrition, both feed ingredients and requirements, and feed formulation, including cost, production efficiency, carcass quality and environmental considerations, the workshop will focus on feed mill design and operation, the use of pre-mixes and on farm food safety.

Dr. House notes, in general it’s meant to be a workshop that will provide those that are making feed on farm with an opportunity to learn from experts in the field and also get some hands on exercise with feed mill design and operation and also provide some important information about on farm food safety.

Particle Size Key Factors in Nutrition and Health

Dr. Houses notes of the biggest considerations from a feed processing point of view is particle size. The influence of hammer mill and roller mill settings can impact the particle size of the grain that’s going into the final ration.

“We know that particle size has a tremendous influence on the efficiency of how that feed is being utilized to support growth of the pig. There’s a direct relationship between particle size and feed efficiency,“ he explains.

But he warns, “If you go to too small a particle size you start running into additional problems, for example leading to higher rates of ulceration in the stomachs of swine. You need to know where the proper balance is between optimizing efficiency and minimizing the impact for the potential for ulcers.“

New Mill Well Suited for Extension

Dr. Wittenberg notes that the feed mill is well designed for bringing in industry people to look at processing technologies that can improve efficiencies with which feeds are being utilized and to improve their understanding of how feed processing equipment works.

“As we look at improving on agriculture practices, developing more sustainable practices, we will always be looking at new crops and looking at new ways of using those crops as a feed source for our livestock. This feed mill, in particular, is well designed to bring in pilot equipment, to look at better processing technologies so that the nutrients in our crops are more available to the animals that we feed.“

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